Liberal Nonprofit that Pressed IRS Commissioner to Target Conservatives Houses his Wife’s Group

Photo Credit: Daily CallerThe progressive nonprofit organization Common Cause urged then-IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman to investigate activities of conservative donors despite housing the campaign-reform group that employs Shulman’s wife.

In 2012, Common Cause urged Shulman and fellow embattled IRS official Lois Lerner, director of the agency’s tax-exempt organizations division, to investigate the Koch Brothers’ attempted takeover of the libertarian think tank the Cato Institute.

“Common Cause respectfully requests that the Internal Revenue Service initiate an investigation into whether attempts by Charles G. Koch and David H. Koch, shareholders of the Cato Institute, to take control of and manipulate the Cato Institute for partisan political purposes expose a flaw in the Cato Institute’s structure that jeopardizes its tax exempt status under 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3),” Common Cause president Bob Edgar wrote in a letter to Shulman and fellow IRS official Lois Lerner dated March 9, 2012.

Edgar, who died in April of this year, described “grave questions about whether the Kochs are exploiting Cato’s corporate structure to transform the Cato Institute from its longstanding, storied reputation as a nonpartisan, libertarian think tank into a partisan organization in contravention of its educative and charitable purpose.

“For these reasons, the Internal Revenue Service should open an investigation into the impact of the Kochs’ attempt to control the Cato Institute to advance their own political and economic interests, and whether Cato can maintain its charitable, tax-exempt status without changing its ownership structure,” Edgar wrote.

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